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goes for the jugular
professional turnkey DV editing system, Purple, is going from strength
to strength - being adopted as the platform of choice for video professionals
and media courses alike. Sales, though, can be expected to go through
the roof with the announcement of a software-only version which uses
the same Studio editing program as Purple and runs on Windows 2000 PCs
with low-cost OHCI FireWire ports.
Fast DV Studio 3.0 will be sold in two versions. The standard version,
costing £817 inc VAT, is dedicated primarily to video editing.
A Production Pack add-on, costing the same, will provide advanced audio
and effects tools associated with the XL version of Fast Studio. Together,
the packages will cost £1,522. While the price is still steep,
the availability of FASTstudio 3.0 will allow video editors to decide
whether their main investment should be in first-rate software or high-tech
The standard FASTstudio 3.0 features unlimited video and audio tracks
on the timeline, and the ability to assemble edit sequences with video
icons in a storyboard manner. The standard bundle supports three-point
editing, slip editing, and the ability to trim clips directly on the
timeline. There's also a 2D effects editor, a Chromakey editor, and
control for colour and transitions.
The Production Pack adds slide-editing and the ability to assign edited
sequences to a container so filters and effects can be added to the
whole lot in one go. There's also a 3D effects editor, and a full-screen
preview of the results from all effects editors. There are advanced
audio tools, including an audio mixer with groupable sliders. A Fuse
command joins sequences together for export, and Xsend delivers sequences
to third-party programs, such as Adobe After Effects or Media100's Cleaner.
The only significant differences between FASTstudio 3.0 Production Pack
and the Studio XL software on Purple appears to be that the software-only
version has no support for FAST's jog/shuttle controller, and no direct
MIDI support for audio control.
FAST, 020 8968 0411; www.fastmultimedia.com
turns the tables
role of video editing hardware companies in the DV editing market has
been ripe for change for the past 18 months. Traditionally, these companies
have bought DV editing software at very low prices, then bundled it
with their hardware and taken most of the credit, plus the lion's share
of the profit. Budget video editing software maker MGI has taken steps
to bring about a role-reversal and grab some of the cream for itself.
It is now buying-in a low-cost, three-port FireWire card and bundling
it with a full version of its own VideoWave 4 editor - a move many other
software companies will surely follow in the near future. The package,
VideoWave 4 DV Suite, carries a suggested price of £99 inc VAT.
MGI's software is easy to use but offers only basic assemble editing
and can't output video directly to tape without first creating a space-wasting
and time-wasting file on hard disk, that is then output via FireWire.
MGI, 01628 680227;
overhauled its RT2000 real-time DV editing package, condensing it onto
a single PCI board that will be sold as the RT2500, and for the same
price (£821 inc VAT) as the RT2000.
Unlike the RT2000, the newcomer isn't supplied with a special version
of the G400 graphics card, so users will have to buy a graphics card
if they don't have one. On the up side, though, they can use the graphics
card of their choice. This will make dual-monitor support a lot easier
- especially if opting for a G450 dual-head model - and won't require
two graphics cards, as is the case with the RT2000.
As with the RT2000, the RT2500 sports DV and analogue AV in/out, and
works with two layers of DV or MPEG-2 and one layer of graphics, creating
many 2D and 3D transitions and effects in real time. Real-time effects,
as seen in the RT2000's Mega Pack, include particle effects, colour
correction, 3D titles, distortion and transparency effects. This real-time
feature-set is, it seems, only applicable to analogue video output -
output via FireWire will require rendering first.
RT2500 runs on Windows 98, ME and 2000, and comes bundled with Adobe
Premiere 6; Inscriber Title Express; Video SpiceRack Lite; Sonic Foundry
ACID Music; Sonic Solutions DVDit! LE; and Ligos LSX MPEG LE (for Adobe
Matrox, 01753 665
Apple's budget laptop
computer, the iBook, has finally grown up. The new version bears no resemblance
to a Fisher Price toy or an overgrown wine gum. Instead, Apple's ingenious
design department has made it look like a laptop computer.
Prices start at £1,099 (inc VAT) for a model with CD-ROM drive and
64MByte RAM. Apple's iMovie 2 editor is supplied making this possibly
the most cost-effective editing laptop available. There are three other
iBooks, all with 128MByte RAM, and differing only in the optical disc
supplied - £1,299 buys a machine with a DVD-ROM drive, £1,399
gets a CD-RW drive instead, while the top model (£1,599) has a combination
CD-RW and a DVD-ROM.
The revamped machine has a far more elegant case than its predecessor
and, at 2.2kg and 285(w)x 34(h)x230(d)mm, it's much lighter and smaller
too. It offers a single FireWire port, a 500MHz G3 processor, a 12.1in
TFT monitor, a 10GByte ATA hard drive (upgradable to 20GBytes for an additional
£170), a full-size keyboard and 8MByte ATI Rage Mobility AGP2-standard
Other shared features include Mac OS9.1, two USB ports, built-in 10/100
Base-T Ethernet networking, a 56K internal modem and built-in antennas
and card slot for optional AirPort wireless network card. The monitor
supports resolutions up to 1024 x 768, and allows an external monitor
to be attached - via a supplied adaptor that couples to the machine's
non-standard RGB output socket. As with the previous model, there's composite
video and analogue audio output, but we don't know if the quality of the
video output has been improved from that of the previous iBook.
iBook's software bundle also includes iTunes and the AppleWorks office
suite, as well as three games - Cro-Mag Rally and Bugdom, Nanosaur.
Apple, 0870 600
to start making their own DVDs are soon likely to have a choice of DVD-R
burners, with Panasonic and ADS about to join Pioneer on the DVD-R bandwagon.
Panasonic's offering, the LF-D311, combines DVD-R and DVD-RAM writing
but lacks the ability to write to CD-R/RW discs. ADS's product, the
Pyro 1394 DVD-R/RW, is - as you'd expect - a FireWire device, and turns
out simply to be a Pioneer DVR-A03 DVD-R burner housed in a FireWire
external drive bay. It will record to CD-R and CD-RW, as well as DVD-R
and DVD-RW discs, and it will come bundled with Sonic Solutions' entry-level
DVD authoring program, MyDVD.
The Panasonic LF-D311 is due after the summer in EIDE and SCSI versions
to fit in 5.25in computer drive bays. A set-top model (MDR-E20) will
also be introduced and be able to be used as the DVD equivalent of a
VCR, offering, surprisingly, simultaneous recording and playback by
use of two laser heads.
Panasonic's prices in the USA are expected to be under $1,000 in each
case, but no UK figures have been announced. ADS hasn't yet announced
prices or UK availability, but the product is due for release in the
USA in June and we'd hope the cost will be no more than £150-£200
greater than the Pioneer drive, whatever price that turns out to be.
ADS, 00 35 36170
Panasonic, 0990 357357; www.panasonic.co.uk
Pioneer, 01753 789789; www.pioneer-eur.comA03.htm
Reviewed in June's
Matrox Marvel G450 eTV
ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon
In June's news:
FAST goes the jugular
MGI turns the tables
Matrox one-card trick
iBook grows up
All about DVD-R